Fair Philanthropy: The Jill Heiman Vision Fund
This grant fund honors the memory of Jill Heiman, the Fair’s founding attorney. It supports tax-exempt organizations in Lane County involved in an annually selected focus area such as environmental protection or basic human needs. Donations are provided by Fair volunteers, artists, staff, performers and guests.
To make a supporting donation to the Jill Heiman Vision Fund, please go to our Donations page. Thank you!
In 2014 we supported the following projects and programs providing basic need services:
• First Place Family Center offers refuge and support to families who are homeless, low-income or at risk of losing housing. The grant will go to the center’s First Place Early Childhood Project, which provides twice-weekly drop-in, therapeutic playgroups for preschool children while offering their parents screening and referral to appropriate agencies. Studies show that just three months of early care and education can have a positive impact on the life of a child who is homeless. The grant will pay for bus passes for transportation to the program; a wholesome meal for each child; classroom supplies; and basic play equipment, including mats for a reading nook, toys for infants and sand for the outside sandbox.
• Catholic Community Services will use its grant to replace two reach-in coolers for emergency food distribution. CCS — which helps low-income people whatever their religion, race, lifestyle or status — is the largest distributor in the county of food collected by FOOD for Lane County. More than half the food received for distribution is fresh produce. Having reliable cold storage will let the agency continue to provide fresh produce to people in need. Last year the agency served more than 22,000 people, with 91 percent reporting income below the federal poverty level.
• Huerto de Familia will purchase food booth supplies and equipment for its new food booth incubator being set up as part of the Cambios Micro-Development Program. Since 2012, the Cambios program has provided Latinos in need with 10-week courses of business counseling and training, with the aim of enhancing financial stability, literacy and entrepreneurial success. Based on participant feedback, the program has been restructured this year to give participants hands-on experience in a food booth incubator. Huerto de la Familia will partner with NEDCO and the Market Place Sprout! in Springfield to offer hands-on training in a certified kitchen and market space to program participants.
• McKinney Vento Program will buy food and clothing for at least 280 homeless teens in high school. Run by the 4-J Eugene School District, the program aims to reduce barriers to homeless students attending school. The youth get breakfast and lunch at school, and scramble for any other food. They have very few belongings. The grant will purchase socks, underwear, warm sweatshirts, jeans and t-shirts, plus food for weekend and evening meals.
• Sheltercare will use the grant in its Emergency Shelter Program, which provides emergency housing to individuals and families with psychiatric and physical disabilities who experience a homelessness crisis. Program participants face unique barriers to accessing appropriate emergency shelter. Sheltercare partners with Lane Independent Living Alliance to meet participants’ needs.
Philanthropy was the catalyst that began the Oregon Country Fair, has been essential to developing its long-lived success, and will provide opportunities that further its mission into the future.